Peptide, CRAFT Research Funded

Ernie NeffResearch

Rick Dantzler

A company that recently obtained a patent for a natural peptide solution to treat HLB has received Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) funding to see if the product has efficacy for other citrus diseases. CRDF will fund the company, Elemental Enzymes, for about $61,200, said CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler.

Elemental Enzymes proposes to do research “to see if this peptide works against phytophthora and other citrus maladies like black spot, drop and canker,” Dantzler said. “We think it will.” Lean more about the company’s patent for HLB treatment here.

Dantzler said Elemental Enzymes on its own has done four years of field trial work on the peptide product. The funding that CRDF agreed to at its December board meeting will assist with a greenhouse study “to see if it works on these other diseases,” Dantzler said. “They now think it’s going to have efficacy on these other maladies.”

“I believe peptides are the next big thing,” Dantzler added.

Also at the December board meeting, the CRDF board of directors authorized funding of up to $3 million for the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) project in the coming year. CRAFT offers growers financial incentives to plant new trees that will be raised using specific HLB mitigation strategies.

CRDF funding from the state Legislature this year came with the stipulation that $3 million go to CRAFT. But because state government is experiencing revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19, CRDF and other state entities have been instructed to hold 8.5 percent of their funds in reserve. That holdback would have reduced CRAFT funding from CRDF by $255,000, Dantzler explained. But, he added, “The (CRDF) board said if there are meritorious proposals that cost up to $3 million, pay it.”  

Dantzler said the $3 million should fund 3,000 acres of research at $1,000 per acre. “That’s the goal of the program (CRAFT), to enroll 3,000 acres this year,” he added. The coming year will be the second for CRAFT; it funded 2,000 acres of new citrus in its first year. Learn more about CRAFT here.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large